When using images on your website and social media accounts, it is best to err on the side of caution. We have heard of companies who have received letters from paid stock image sites for illegal use of their images. Most images, unless you took them yourself, should be paid for in some fashion. This could be through paying a photographer to photograph your space or product, or through purchasing them online via a stock photo website.
Simply adding a credit to the photographer under the image and still using the image without full permission does not always hold up in court due to copyright infringement laws. As defined by Wikipedia, Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.
You must always have some sort of documentation that the photographer or stock photo site has given you a license to use their images. Below are a few questions we have answered to help define what images are good to use for marketing your business:
What types of images am I allowed to use?
– Images you took with your own camera or cell phone
– Images you paid a photographer to take (with a release to use from the Photographer)
– Royalty-free images (these do not required a release or license, and should be listed on the site as such)
– Stock images (with a paid license to use)
– Graphics you have personally made yourself, or had a designer make for you to use
– Stock graphics (with a paid license to use)
Am I, as the business owner, still liable for the images if I had a company build the website?
Yes, it is your website and your liability. It is really important to make sure that the company you use to build your website uses stock imagery that has been paid for, or any of the types of approved images listed above.
If you have any questions over using images, or need some custom design work for your web or social accounts, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!